01/21/2006: "THE MORUNG EXPRESS BANNED"
THE MORUNG EXPRESS BANNED
The Council of Kilonsers of the NSCN/GPRN on the 18th January, 2006, decided to impose a ban on the local daily. “The Morung Express” based at Dimapur for sensationalisation and biased reporting devoid of any substance which amounts to hypocrisy and treason, with immediate effect for an indefinite period of time.
“The Morung Express” being the mouth piece of IM terrorist, sponsored and financed by the terrorist, all the members of the NSCN are directed not to subscribe any news item to or read the Morung Express till further notice.
Dated Oking The 19th January 2006 Secretary IP/NSCN
NSCN (K)’S CLARIFICATION ON MORUNG EXPRESS PUBLICATION
The NSCN (K) sharply reacts to the caption “NSCN (K) support for Muivah to Hinge on talks outcome”. The article written by the Morung Express correspondent Mr. Karaiba Chawang on the front page to attract the readers eyes is quite misleading. Some of the Secretaries of the GPRN were present at the time of the interview. Our leaders never had said that NSCN (K) supports the outcome of Th. Muivah talks with India. Our leaders present in the interview categorically said that Muivah has openly declared that he has given up the issue of Naga Sovereignty. So how the NSCN (K) with objective principle of Naga Sovereignty could would be supporting the outcome of Th. Muivah’s talks. The assertion of our leaders during the interview was that, had Th. Muivah brought Sovereignty to Nagaland every Naga is there including the NSCN men whether one likes it or not.
The NSCN knows full well that the Morung Express is the mouth piece of IM group being sponsored and financed by them. But the NSCN leaders with good intention had entertained unsuspectingly even the representative of the Morung Express in the said press conference. But it is very much regretted that we have been deliberately misrepresented by the Morung Express with the caption “NSCN (K) support for Muivah to Hinge on talks outcome”. Th. Muivah has climbed down from Sovereign Independent Nagaland to separate state and autonomous councils under article 371(A) and had asserted time and again that Sovereignty and Independence are irrelevant in the present world scenario. So how can the NSCN be a party to Th. Muivah! Rather, there is preparation from every corner to wipe out all the terrorists from the Naga soil.
Dated Oking The 19th January 2006 Secretary MIP/NSCN
Expressing regret & apology
In response to the statement issued by the NSCN (K) under the title “NSCN (K)’s clarification on Morung Express publication” which appeared in sections of the local print media on January 12 wherein the NSCN (K) had expressed unhappiness over the news-report with the caption “NSCN (K) support for Muivah to hinge on talks outcome” appearing on the January 9, 2006 issue of The Morung Express. It is hereby clarified that the news items and caption was never written and filed with the intention to mislead or to deliberately misrepresent the NSCN (K). It has been the constant endeavour of The Morung Express to present news reports without any bias, sensationalism or exaggeration.
If the particular news report appearing on the January 9 issue of The Morung Express has hurt the sentiment of the NSCN (K) in any manner, we express our sincere regret with due apology. At the same time we also invite correction and suggestion from any person or group for the improvement of the paper. Editor, The Morung Express
Equi-closeness' fails By Monalisa Changkija The Statesman
Saturday An all-party meeting at Kohima, Nagaland’s capital, this week appealed to New Delhi and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) “to extend the ceasefire for a further period and to continue to expedite the peace process to bring it to a meaningful conclusion in fulfilment of the people’s desires”.
This was the first public mention in Nagaland of the nearly nine-year old ceasefire which expires on 31 January, if it is not extended further, showing how cautiously people have viewed the current situation. And much through this month, as the ceasefire deadline – extended by six months last year – approached, a major focus of discussion has been the failure of the much-touted policies of “equi-closeness and equi-distance” of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government.
Earlier, the convenor of the Consultative Committee for Peace (CCP), IK Sema, said the state government has finally decided to disband the CCP and form another committee, which would include all parties, accepting the reality that no single party could decide the fate of the Naga people unless all are involved.
Mr Sema also said, the DAN government, which formed the CCP with the high profile slogan “equi-closeness”, could not keep up its policy and implement it, while also blaming the Congress of being active to divide the Naga people.
But a few days later, while disbanding the group, chief minister Neiphui Rio set up an all-party committee to help resolve the issue and significantly involved the Congress in the bargain.
Has the failure of the policies of “equi-closeness and equi-distance” of political parties from the militant groups moved the ceasefire from the centrestage of Nagaland politics? If so, it is significant.
In the interim, for the first time after nearly three years of the coalition government, Mr Sema criticised Naga NGOs and alleged they were too close to a particular group. Another senior member of the peace committee also accused Naga NGOs of maintaining proximity with the NSCN (I-M) without hesitation, which negated the DAN’s policy of ‘equi-closeness’.
“Our policy was to maintain closeness with all groups but in the process some NGOs without hesitation are going around with certain groups only.” Mr Sema even charged Naga NGOs of behaving as masters though they did not carry the mandate of the people. The leader of the Opposition, I Imkong Ao, of the Congress said that a new consensus formula must be worked out, which would be acceptable to people from all walks of life. Interestingly, he dismissed DAN charges against the NGOs. The shift of the Congress is interesting because only a few years ago it was a pariah in the state’s political scenario and Naga NGOs stood firmly behind the DAN conglomeration. The Naga Hoho, which represents many Naga tribes as a platform but which itself is facing criticism from several angles, has flayed the CCP’s rhetoric against Naga NGOs and demanded that it admit its failure. In the process, leaders of the NGO movement have launched attacks on the state government. Neingulo Krome, general secretary of the Hoho and a prominent peace activist, said Naga NGOs, including the Hoho, had fully supported the government in an effort to bring all sections of Naga people to a common platform and to facilitate the ongoing peace process. But “at no time” had NGOs played a partisan role. It appears finally that our leaders are finally hearing the message in the silence of the people, who generally maintain that no issue can be resolved by individuals or groups of individuals, in isolation and by alienating and marginalising the people.
Perhaps, the intention was not such but so far, somehow, our people seem to harbour the impression that our leaders believe that they alone know the solutions to our problems and they alone can resolve them without taking the people into confidence and/or without facilitating our people to have their say. Our people also seem to harbour the impression that some among us feel that we alone have the prerogative to the projection and all other aspects of the Naga political issue, including the solutions. The Naga political issue is not anyone’s private family or clan or tribal property nor a divine right. Hence it cannot be perceived, reduced and limited to merely a factional or sectoral political issue. Naga political issue concerns and affects all Nagas, including the future generations of Nagas, ergo it cannot be the sole prerogative of any political organisation and personality. The Naga political issue also cannot be perceived or resolved through the prism of petty power politics but by the wisdom and genius of our people through their own ways.
Another offshoot of the failure of the policies is that the voice of the people should be heard without fear or favour. Genuine democracy entails that dominant groups do not force their opinions, perceptions, perspective and will on others. We may be seeing many charges and counter-charges on the policies of “equi-closeness and equi-distance”. It is not very pleasant but let us have our say and get it over and done with because we must move to the next level towards the solution of the Naga political issue.
(The author is Editor of The Nagaland Page, published from Dimapur)
North By North East Sanjoy Hazarika The Statesman
The Kohima haze: Wading through words
These past days, the Kohima valley and parts of Nagaland have been enveloped in a thick haze that has forced a sharp drop in visibility and also led to a spate of lung and upper respiratory infections. The sharp ridges and deep valleys, the deforested hills and the jhum fields as well as the terraced fields are a blur in the near-distance.
The smog is a fallout – forgive the pun – of a major fire in the forests of the Dzukho valley (claimed also by Manipur). Some reports in the media in Kohima say that the fire is out after days of battle; another says that there is an “underground” fire that is still threatening this beautiful slice of land.
In Nagaland, one has long learned to distinguish the nuances between words, phrases and especially note who utters them, for the person saying something is as important as what is being spoken. Not that one need read too much into the reporter’s concern about the “underground” fire at the Dzukho valley – that was meant to be just that. But the haze hanging over parts of the state, to my mind, represented the lack of clarity about the future and what is to happen post-31 January, when the ceasefire is to come to an end between the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim.
The strange thing is that while New Delhi and various stakeholders such as the NSCN itself may think the situation is poised on a knife edge, the atmosphere in Kohima and Dimapur was quite relaxed. The media hype is quite unwarranted. And until one raises the issue of the ceasefire extension, no one even refers to it in conversation – it’s almost as if it wasn’t there or if no one was really bothered: which cannot be the case! I could be criticised perhaps for not travelling to the villages and finding out views there. There was just not enough time on this trip. But from earlier visits and travels to the Naga hills, it is clear that people have a stake in a ceasefire that would lead to an eventual settlement and that the peace process must continue.
My interactions with a range of people from civil society, politics, bureaucracy, scholars, students and activists showed that while there was a lingering concern about the future of the peace process, there were few who believed that the ceasefire would not be extended. There is a tiredness that the negotiations have lingered for so long without a definite conclusion and a sympathy for the frustration Th Muivah, NSCN general secretary, feels when he says he is “very tired” in an interview.
The general feeling is that both sides will find a way out of the conundrum in which they have neatly placed themselves and each other, not to speak of the region itself. “They’ll muddle through,” is how one person put it. And chief minister Neiphiu Rio, for long perceived as sympathetic to the NSCN (I-M), has deftly got the Congress involved in the peace process among the Nagas by dissolving his government’s consultative committee and creating an all-party group, developing what an observer called “a broader sense of statehood among all groups”.
Army operations begin to flush out UGs Newmai News Network January 20 Imphal: The Army today commenced its operations in the interior areas of Tipaimukh subdivision of Churachandpur district in Manipur to clear “Undergrounds who have been ruling the roost in this region for last several years”, according to the PIB, Defense Wing.
Of late there have been a series of untoward incidents in the far-flung villages of Thanion and Parbung areas wherein 33 civilians’ casualties were reported due to IED blasts, said the release, adding, the locations have been subjected to intense harassment by the undergrounds.
In view of the worsening situation, the troops of 57 Mountain Division began multi-pronged clearing operations in the early hours of 20th January 2006.
The advancing columns have confronted well entrenched undergrounds armed with sophisticated weapons at a number of places, stated the press-hand-out of the PIB, Defence Wing.
In the ensuring encounters the Army so far has eliminated four UNLF cadres and recovered 4 AK Rifles along with a large quantity of ammunition, explosives and improvised IEDs.
The Army has suffered one fatal casualty Operations are continuing, said a PIB (DW) release.
PM's visit To Assam The Statesman
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stuck to the script in his two day visit to Assam: he opened a thermal plant in the underdeveloped Bodo area, announced support to the coal industry, spoke of the North-east as a cultural bridge to South-East Asia, tried to comfort those hit by river bank erosion in Dibrugarh, told the media that his government would talk to all groups which abjured violence and virtually launched the Congress campaign for the spring Assembly election from Upper Assam.
But his visit had hardly ended when the United Liberation Front of Asom declared openly that it had levied a Rs 500-crore extortion demand on the oil giant, the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, saying that the use of Assam’s resources should benefit the people of the state.
This is ridiculous – suppose, just hypothetically, should ONGC pay this money to Ulfa, how will the latter ensure that it will go to the benefit of Assam? Who will receive the money? Will he or she or they give a structured breakup of how they propose to use these funds? Can a review committee monitor the use of these funds? Obviously, the Right to Information (an “Indian” law) cannot be used to find out details! Such demands assert a viewpoint that seeks not the development of Assam and the North-east but their economic decline. It is a minimalist and short-sighted approach that seeks, like New Delhi, to control the people and economies of the region It is a view that seeks to block the North-east from opening up to South-east Asia: after all who will want to invest in our region if they hear of such outrageous demands.
If the North-east opens up to South-east Asia, changing economies will ensure that such marginal and backward looking viewpoints will be swept aside. People will have no time or patience for such retrograde approaches.
In the meantime, we hope that better counsel will prevail on Ulfa: the Consultative Peoples Group would be doing all a great service if it persuaded its mentor to understand the changing conditions in the region and that only dialogue, however slow or delayed, is the only sustainable way forward.
The ONGC and others should not yield to such intimidation and it is the duty of the State to give them every support and security.
Coercive Peace Jan 21 Today's Editorial The Morung Express
Addressing a press conference at the 21-Sector head quarters in Agartala, the Director General of Assam Rifles, Lt. General Bhopinder Singh on Thursday said that more and more insurgents from rebel groups in the North East would surrender to the Army, leading to peace in the region. This latest statement from a top Army brass only gives credence to the belief that there are those who would go to any length to prove that peace in the region can be achieved only through coercion in whatever form or manifestation. Given this stance on the part of the Generals in uniform, it is only likely that a military centric approach will continue to be the only language that the armed forces will understand.
The comments from the Assam Rifles Chief will also no doubt leave many people in the region disappointed in particular the civil society groups who are making an all out effort to establish permanent peace in the region. Whether the civilian authority in New Delhi is in consonance with this approach, the way things are turning out to be on the ground, it no doubt puts a big question mark over the UPA government’s sincerity to address the political grievances faced by different groups in the northeast region.
While it is well known that India has an economic obligation to sup with Rangoon as and when the latter demands, it is completely unethical on the part of New Delhi to unleash its military designs on the NSCN (K) when there is a ceasefire agreement operating between the two sides. More so, by supporting the military junta in Rangoon, India has completely sullied its image as the world’s largest democracy. The sooner this anomaly in its foreign policy is addressed; India will completely lose its legitimate position to champion the cause of democracy wherever it may be, whether in Pakistan or Nepal.
Unpleasant memories of India’s deployment of troops in Sri Lanka during the late eighties should act as a warning if New Delhi has any intention to get involved in conflicts in its neighborhood. There is a danger of India getting drawn more and more into Myanmar’s internal politics and conflicts. India could end up in a quagmire that it could well avoid.
If New Delhi is sincere to work out a road map for peace in the northeast, then it would have to engage the people through a dialogue process, listening to their grievances and being accommodative to what they have to say. A military-centric approach will not serve any purpose and will only further alienate people.
The Manmohan Singh government has yet to work out afresh the road map to establish durable peace in the northeast. So far its effort is on fire fighting. That is no good in the short to medium term. Instead of assuming that a military solution is achievable, which is not, the government of India must instead advocate peace through negotiation and not guns or coercion. It must try and help open doors. Doors to genuine dialogue.
State law and order situation satisfactory: EC Assam Tribune
TEZPUR, Jan 20 – The Election Commission today expressed satisfaction over the overall law and order situation in Assam ahead of this year’s assembly poll, reports PTI. Addressing a press conference here, Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon said all steps have been taken to ensure free and fair assembly election.
Tandon, who reviewed the election scenario with top government and police officers yesterday, expressed satisfaction at the overall law and order situation.
He said 23,000 EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) would be used in the state.
The CEC said all the 18,710 polling stations in the state would be physically verified by officials.
Regarding D voters numbering more than 1.60 lakh, he said, it was for the Tribunal under the Foreigners Act to decide their fate before the final publication of electoral rolls scheduled next month.
Our Tezpur Correspondent adds: Sri Tandon said that officers related to election duties won’t be allowed to be posted at one place for more than three years.
Taking the 2006 as a base year the process of correction of the voter list is almost complete and the final voter list will be published on February 9.
He said that the voter will have the facility of website to see their names. Election Commissioner MV Chawla, Addl Election Commissioner R Balakrishnan and Chief Election Commissioner of Assam JP Prakash also attended the press meet.
It is worth mentioning that a meeting was held with the DC, SP and SDO of Sonitpur, Udalguri, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji District to discuss about the law and order situation for the ensuing election.
On the other hand, Brindaban Goswami President of ACP, submitted a memo to the Chief Election Commissioner demanding free and fair polls in State.
States urged to look beyond Look East Policy Assam Tribue
KOHIMA, Jan 20 – North-eastern States hold key to boosting India’s trade with East Asian countries and should use their geographical advantage to optimum level, a think tank comprising members from ASEAN countries and India said today.
North-eastern States need to look beyond the Centre’s ‘Look East’ policy to enhance cooperation between the landlocked region and ASEAN countries in the fields of commerce, trade, tourism, culture and people-to-people contact, ASEAN Dialogue Society said.
A 10-member delegation of the Society made a two-day visit to Nagaland to acquaint themselves with the region and interacted with Ministers, government officials, entrepreneurs and NGOs.
The delegation, comprising members from nine ASEAN countries and chairman and managing trustee of Centre for North-east Studies, Sanjay Hazarika, also insisted on learning of South East Asian languages by students of the north-eastern states.
Former Thailand Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan said the ASEAN Dialogue Society would initiate extending help to students from Nagaland and other NE states for learning languages of South East Asian nations.
Surin, who is also a sitting member of Thai Parliament, said learning and knowing one’s language is one step towards bringing people together in the region. He insisted on maintenance of peace and security in the north-east so that the region could be made investor friendly.
Lt Col killed in Parbung attack Four UNLF cadres killed, 4 AK rifles recovered, claims Army By Our Staff Reporter SanGai Express
IMPHAL, Jan 20 : One Lieutenant Colonel of the Indian Army was reportedly killed when under- ground activists launched an offensive against the security personnel with so- phisticated weapons early today morning at Parbung area in Churachandpur district. The attack took place while the troops were advancing towards the area to launch intense CI operations.
The identity of the slain Lt Col has been established as Rajiv Bakshi.
Confirming the report of the attack, a PIB (Defence Wing) statement, said troops of Red Shield Division began its operations in the interior areas of Tipaimukh sub-division in Churachandpur district in the early hours of today.
The advancing columns confronted well entrenched undergrounds armed with sophisticated weapons at a number of places, said the statement and added that in the ensuing encounters the Army has so far eliminated four UNLF cadres and recovered four AK-47 Rifles along with a large quantity of ammunition, explosives and prepared IEDs.
The Army suffered one fatal casualty, said PIB.
Meanwhile, Jiribam police have registered a case and the body of the Lt Col has been taken to the Silchar Mashimpur Army Hospital.
In another development, out of the four security personnel including three personnel of 26 Rajput Rifles, who drowned when their boat capsized at Barak river while going towards Parbung on January 17 for launching a mass operation, only two bodies have been recovered so far.
The identities of the personnel whose bodies have been recovered are Rifleman of 26 Rajput Rifles Abhilkumar Nayar and Dinglien s/o Gunadhor of Sotobekra.
The bodies of Subedar V Mohon and Lance Naik Sitaram Rajkuwar of 26 Rajput Rifles are still missing.
The body of Rifleman Abhilkumar Nayar was taken to Jiribam yesterday without conducting post-mortem while Dinglien's body has been handed over to family members after the post-mortem.
According to report, the father of Dinglien, Guna-dhor was killed when a bomb planted by suspected underground acti- vists exploded at Phairen-thang Pungi some six months back.
Meanwhile a reliable source informed The San-gai Express that the Army suffered heavy casualties at Jiribam and CCpur side today. The source said that troops of 18 Garhwal Rifles and 26 Rajput Regiment suffered heavy casualties at Jiribam while troops of 3 Raj Rifles met the same fate at CCpur. The body count may be known tomorrow, added the source.
Moreh sets 24 hr deadline to remove 24 AR I Ibobi and N Noren Sangai Express
IMPHAL, Jan 20 : Adopting a stringent stand against the conduct of 24 Assam Rifles, a huge public meeting held at Moreh today resolved that if the 24 AR is not removed from Moreh within 24 hours, then the people would pack their clothings and settle at the No Man's land along the Indo-Myanmar border from 1.30 pm tomorrow.
The resolution was adopted during a meeting which was held after the protest rally staged against the excesses of the Assam Rifles personnel today.
The meeting further resolved that if the Assam Rifles is not removed from Moreh then the people would take up more stringent course of action.
It was also resolved that the State police including women personnel should always accompany the Central security forces in the course of any operation. Arrest memo should also be furnished at the time of picking up anyone. The people further decided to lodge a case against the Assam Rifles in connection with the January 16 incident as well as the theft committed by the AR men. The meeting also demanded that the 24 AR post at Kotha Nongpok Ningthou should be removed. Earlier in the day before the public meeting was held, a huge protest rally was staged to denounce the excesses of the 24 Assam Rifles.
The rally, participated by people from different communities, started from the Kongdong Lairembi Eemagi Haraobung at 11 am and passed through Moreh bazar and tried to proceed towards the 24 AR post located at the Inspection Bungalow of the PWD.
However police stopped the rallyists from moving towards the 24 AR post and the procession proceeded towards Gate number 1 and after crossing the Tamil Sangam office entered Meitei Leikai at Ward number IV. The rallyists then went upto Gate II near Namphalong and raised slogans denouncing the Assam Rifles and later returned to the starting point. Later a memorandum was submitted to the Governor demanding the removal of 24 AR from Moreh. Even as the people of Moreh have served an ultimatum to remove 24 AR from the border town, Brigadier RA Lewis of the 26 Sector Assam Rifles met leaders of all the communities of Moreh at 4 pm today, said the PRO of Assam Rifles in a statement. Around 400 people including meira paibis attended the meeting. After listening to the grievances of the people, the Brigadier assured that the problems of Moreh would be discussed to bring an amicable solution. MCM president Imobi also attended the meeting, added the AR PRO.
PREPAK condemns By Our Staff Reporter Sangai Express
IMPHAL, Jan 20 : People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) has strongly condemned the killing of Chandam Jiten alias Malemganba (30) s/o Basanta by a combined force of Assam Rifles and State police commandos at Khurai Konsam Leikai yesterday morning.
Jiten was shot dead in full view of his family members by one of the commandos while he was being brought out by his brother Nandeshore to surrender to the Additional SP of Imphal East District Police, the department of publicity and propaganda of the outfit said, and termed the killing a brutal act of human rights violation and State terrorism.
It was not the first time that the commandos have committed such heinous act and should be condemned by all, the statement said, adding that PREPAK might not be able to restrain from retaliating if the State police force continue to indulge in such fraticidal killings.
There have been various instances in the past in which many cadres of the outfit were killed in their custody by the commandos. Yet the outfit tolerated such atrocities so far, the statement said.
Yesterday’s incident was even more heinous and condemnable as Jiten was killed while coming out to surrender right in front of his family members, the outfit said.
Giving its salute to the slain cadre and conveying condolence to family members, the statement further said that Jiten was a member of its red army who was dutiful, patient and discipline.
NSCN (K) bans daily Newmai News Network
Dimapur, Jan 20: The NSCN (K)'s Council of Kilonsers has banned a Dimapur based English daily – The Morung Express – with immediate effect for an indefinite period of time for alleged “sensationalisation and biased reporting devoid of any substance”. A statement issued by the faction’s ministry of information and publicity secy stated this sort of act of the newspaper “amounts to hypocrisy and treason.” The NSCN (K) also alleged The Morung Express is the mouthpiece of NSCN (IM) and that it is being sponsored and financed by the latter. The faction directed all its members to refrain from subscribing or reading the newspaper till further order.
Meet endorses plebiscite Sangai Express
IMPHAL, Jan 20 : In continuation with the ongoing public sessions to deliberate on UNLF’s call for plebiscite to bring about an end to the Indo-Manipur conflict a meeting was held at Lamboi Khongnang-khong today.
Based on the said related the meeting convened at UFLC ground unanimous-ly adopted three resolu- tions pertaining to demand for unification amongst various armed organisation operating in the State for an amicable end to the crux issue, intervention and participation of UN representatives in conducting the plebiscite and forwarding the resolution adopted today to the international body.
The meeting was held with retired principal of BT College Ch Thoiba and Lamboi Khongnangkhong Apunba Meira Paibi Lup president Renuka as the chief guest and president respectively.
Imphal correspondent of the Statesman daily Yumnam Rupachandra and former Lok Sabha MP Kim Gangte were among other speakers who addressed the session as resource persons.